Archive for August, 2007

I love it when things turn out well

I had such a stressful night last night, I didn’t sleep at all and I almost made myself ill from worrying.

Don’t you hate it when people aren’t specific?? I want to blog about my news but can’t yet. Last night I was in tears and today I’m on top of the world!

This was seriously FUN!

I finished up the doll quilt this afternoon and can’t wait to make another one. Here are 3 photo’s and I’m even including a close-up of the hand quilting. Except for the wonky center, it’s not too bad considering I haven’t hand quilted anything in several years AND I’ve never hand quilted without a hoop.

Click on the images to see a larger view. This also counts as a UFO finish (#14 this year) since these blocks were made a very long time ago!

Ready for binding

I love the texture that Baptist Fans give a quilt (thanks to the templates from Circle Lord , they’re easy to machine quilt). I know it looks like the quilting has overpowered the piecing on this HeartStrings RWB Sampler for Quilts of Valor but I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the quilt tossed across the longarm. The afternoon sun in my Studio is perfect for seeing the texture quilting brings to a top.

Just in case you didn’t believe me, here are two photos of the quilt just after trimming and you can still see the piecing and pattern of the top. Click on the photos to see larger views. Once I get this bound – I’ll have 3 quilts to send back to Sue Frank for Quilts of Valor and she’s got another top to send me for quilting.


This was a day I shouldn’t have been quilting. Things were going so well and I was getting quilt after quilt done without problems until today. I had tension issues and will have to frog a partial row tomorrow and re-quilt it. I was so disgusted at one point that I walked away and went downtown for a coffee and to pick up some fresh bread for dinner.

I did come back and finish the rest of the Baptist Fan quilting so once I frog and re-quilt that partial row – I’ll be done.

On another subject – Julie asked me if I knew the origin of the Chinese Coins quilt. I’m not sure if she meant the name of the pattern or the pattern itself but the only reference I was able to find was in the book Amish Crib Quilts from the Midwest which suggested that it was a Bars Quilt variation.

I looked in another book on Amish quilts, An Amish Adventure by Roberta Horton and was surprise to find that she shows a Chinese Coins quilt as a Bars Quilt variation saying “you can break up the odd-number bars into squares of different colors, a pattern know as Chinese Coins.” And what I consider a Chinese Coins quilt, she calls a Roman Coins (another Bars Quilt variation).

Does anyone else have any information on the origin of this pattern/quilt name?

Still for sale

Anyone want to buy a vacation condo at Big Canoe in the North Georgia Mountains? Just a 50 minute drive from the Atlanta Area.

The realtor put up a new site and sent us the link. Makes me miss being there but I don’t miss the Atlanta area! We’re selling it furnished but my quilts came with me to Minneapolis!

There’s a reason I make To Do Lists

Of course, there’s the obvious pleasure I get from checking everything off the list but I’m convinced I’d never finish half the things I start if it wasn’t for my lists. By putting things on the list that I would normally procrastinate doing they actually get done.

If I hadn’t set my mini goals yesterday, I’d have gotten up and gone straight to work on the doll quilt. It’s the *new* exciting project (at least until the next one comes along).

You’ll notice that sewing a binding and loading a quilt on the longarm were the other two *tasks* I set for myself yesterday – probably my two least favorite things to do so I made myself finish both of them before allowing myself to work on the doll quilt. By the way, I’m getting a LOT more comfortable with hand quilting without a hoop and my stitches are looking better too.

Final result? I got it all done including starting the Baptist Fans quilting and making more string blocks for the Half Square Hearts.

Tomorrow’s mini list?
1. Finish quilting the HeartStrings Sampler for QOV
2. Work on piecing the Half Square Hearts
3. More hand quilting on the doll quilt.

Today’s mini To Do List

My sleep clock is completely off! I’ve been awake all night the last couple weeks and am sleeping all morning. By the time I get up, showered, walk the dog, and check email, half the day is already gone.

Since I finished up everything on my list last week – I just have a mini list for today.
1. Load the HeartStrings RWB sampler quilt – I’m going to quilt Baptist Fans
2. Get the binding on one of the 2 HeartStrings quilts quilted last week and not yet bound
3. Do some hand quilting on the doll quilt.

By the way, Deb asked when I was going to post of photo of the hand quilting on the doll quilt – it’s so bad I’m going to wait until I’m finished and the quilt is washed!

I’m a pack-rat

Today, that’s a good thing. I haven’t hand quilted in years or pin basted a quilt since buying my longarm (5 years ago) so I wasn’t sure if I would have all the supplies I needed to get started on hand quilting my doll quilt.

I found everything needed and pin basted the quilt this morning. I took a look at Tonya’s instructions for hand quilting without a hoop but I have to say I’m finding it awkward. I’m sure I felt the same when when I first tried quilting in a hoop so I’ll keep at it.

My stitches look ridiculous but I’m having fun. They’ll improve over time if not with this quilt then with one of the next ones. Since doll quilts have traditionally been made by children learning to quilt, mine will look authentic!

I had a surprise in the mail yesterday. Actually, for a few minutes I had the horrible feeling I’d been doing too much online shopping because I couldn’t imagine what I’d ordered that came in a large flat envelope type package. It was my swatch card from Virginia Longarm (that’s the small card on top of the apron) along with samples that I wasn’t expecting.

Deb and I have plans to order a couple different colors and split them but when I went to place the order tonight, the shipping charge seemed very high. I held off on the order and have sent an email asking if it’s accurate. I’m crossing my fingers that it’s not.

Another gorgeous day

We had another beautiful day so we spent all afternoon outside.

We continue to walk around downtown and talk about where we’d like to live if we decide to stay here and buy a place. We like the area we are living now and one on the other side of downtown by the river. Today we walked by some townhouses by the river that we looked at when we first moved. A lot will depend on Keith’s job and we really do need to sell our Condo in GA which is still for sale so we won’t be moving in the near future but it’s nice to look.

I pieced together the doll quilt tonight after Keith went to bed. I’m not crazy about the top and bottom rows of blocks – intended to take the quilt from square to rectangular but I’m going to live with it. I think once it’s bound and those center white edges are framed I’ll be happier.

I received my book from Amazon and have paged through it. One of the things I found very interesting was the discussion on how obsessed we are with symmetry in quilts today. That’s me to a T so I guess I’ll have to work on being more spontaneous and asymmetric.

Now I have to see if I can find my safety pins, quilting betweens and some quilting thread and get this basted tomorrow.

Why am I crawling around on the floor at 2AM?

I’ve always admired the small quilts that Tonya makes and hand quilts and I’ve been watching the quilts being exchanged in the doll quilt swaps. I don’t have any desire to swap but I decided I could always make some quilts, buy some dolls, and donate them together.

Inspired to finally act by Lucy and a mini quilt she made recently, I ordered a few books from Amazon including the book she referred to on hand quilting – Quilting With Style: Principles for Great Pattern Design by Gwen Marston & Joe Cunningham.

So while I’m waiting for my books to arrive, I remembered an old UFO that’s not even on my working list because it will just never be finished and this is where the crawling around on the floor at 2AM comes in!

These drunkard’s path blocks are appliqued not pieced (needle-turn applique believe it or not!) all from Joann’s calico’s I bought the first year I was quilting. So I think this is going to become my first doll quilt and who knows it might be my last too since I certainly don’t need more projects, we’ll see how it goes.

I can’t believe it’s August!

We had a beautiful day here in Minneapolis! Without the heat and humidity I couldn’t believe it was August and we took advantage of the weather and spent a good part of the day outside. Keith came home early from work with a picnic lunch that we took to the park to eat; then I came back home to work a bit before heading out for a walk downtown and dinner outside.

Our walk took us down to the Mississippi and across the Stone Arch Bridge. We could see the debris from the bridge collapse last month but it looks like they’ve made progress cleaning it up. The Associated Press reports that 13 people were killed and over 100 injured in the collapse, we were lucky that no one from Keith’s company was involved.

This afternoon I used the hearts as an overall pattern for a HeartStrings quilt. I was happy with the results but I could be a little more consistent. I like it best with one echo so I had to pay attention to which side of the heart I quilted first when I needed to change direction but it was pretty easy to get into a rhythm.

Quilt 4 HeartStrings tops – Chinese Coins #1 , RWB Heartstrings, Purple Project #2, Fran’s top

Piece 2 backings
Bind, label, wash, and ship quilt for my niece
Work on string blocks for my Half Square Hearts
Bind, label, and wash CC #4
Bind, label, and wash CC #1

I got all the way through my list!

More hearts

I finished quilting my 2nd Purple Project quilt this morning and was using the extra batting and backing for practice. I started just echoing some hearts and I LOVE this. It wasn’t even something I’d seen somewhere and practiced drawing for HOURS which is what I usually have to do. Isn’t it CUTE? Now hopefully I can find a top to use it on!

As I was getting the quilt set up this morning I had to pull out a new roll of batting. I almost had a heart attack until I realized this huge black streak was on the plastic NOT on my batting!

I should have been making blocks BUT

I just can’t wait to see what a particular quilt is going to look like so I took a break from making blocks to put this green section together. This is a UFO that has been redesigned so I’m using the half square triangles I already have cut. You could control the scrappiness of this quilt by using a single green fabric but luckily I like scrappy.

By the way, I don’t know if I made myself clear the other day but I had decided NOT to use this heart layout or any of the others I tried and to use the Half Square Strings design again – as you can see I changed my mind – again!

I’m working my way through my list. I’ll load another one this afternoon for quilting. Two HeartStrings tops are packed and ready to ship to 2 girls whose family lost a lot of their belongings in a house fire. I’m surrounded by HeartStrings Projects today and couldn’t be happier!

One fresh from the dryer (don’t you love the red binding!)

One being loaded on the longarm and another one *on deck*

One ready for the binding to be hand stitched down.

Two bound, labeled, and washed to be put in the chest for donation when needed.

Two in the bottom box ready to be shipped out along with a small box of strings for another member.

Ebb and Flow

I love this Ebb and Flow Pantograph from Lorien quilting on these Patriotic quilts. Here’s one I quilted the other day and just took off the machine today. It’s one of two HeartStrings Quilt made from donated blocks at the WI/MN area sew-in in July and will be donated to Quilts of Valor.

(It can be found at Willow Leaf Studio but their website is down for maintenance, the above link takes you to Columbia River Quilting Supplies and Kings Men Quilting also carries it)


I had a comment from Ann yesterday asking why we used a foundation for the HeartStrings projects rather than just sewing the strings together the Gwen Marston way. Since it’s a question I get fairly frequently I posted an answer on the HeartStrings Blog along with some of my favorite books on string quilts.

From a personal standpoint, when I do use a foundation I use muslin because I HATE to pull the paper off once I’ve finished piecing the block. Because I tend to work with strings and strips of different lengths and like to use even my little bits and pieces it usually is easier for me to use a foundation rather than trying to find strings of similar length to piece a strip set. For patterns like Chinese Coins and piano key string borders that are easily pieced without foundations – I don’t use them.

I didn’t get a lot accomplished today but did make and sew the binding on for one of the Chinese Coins quilts – I’ve got it about halfway stitched down and for a change actually thought to grab the label and sew it in the corner when I was stitching the binding on. Now I’ll just have to sew two sides of it when I’m done the binding. Why don’t I remember to do it this way more often?

Designing quilts

I spent a couple hours this evening playing with EQ6 and a group of string blocks trying to decide on a new layout. I had a UFO that is eventually going to be 2 (possibly 3) quilts by the time I’m done with it. I’ve already finished and donated the first quilt – Half Square Strings and loved how it turned out.

My intention was to create a second quilt called Half Square Hearts but wasn’t liking it too much when I started playing with the blocks I’d already pieced. So I played with a couple more options on the design wall and after vetoing all of them, ended up with the same setting as the first quilt.

It’s hard for me not to consider all this a waste of time that could have been used making more string blocks but I know from a creative standpoint it was valuable even if I didn’t like any of the designs enough to use them. I still have a bunch of blocks to make for this quilt so I’ll be working on them over the next week or so (or longer).

I did get the RWB HeartStrings top quilted. It’s still on the machine because I’m going to use the extra batting and backing for some freehand quilting practice. I’ve been practicing designs from Sharon Schamber’s Stipple Basics

My current To Do List
Quilt 4 HeartStrings tops – Chinese Coins #1 , RWB Heartstrings
Piece 2 backings
Bind, label, wash, and ship quilt for my niece
Work on string blocks for my Half Square Hearts
Bind, label, and wash CC #4
Bind, label, and wash CC #1
If all goes well and the HS quilts get done, load and start quilting one of Mom’s tops

Do YOU think Keith is playing golf in this weather?

I think they’re probably in the bar right about now! Hopefully he won’t come home too soon because I still have lots of work to get done.

Here’s the finished HeartStrings Quilt – titled so imaginatively as Chinese Coins #1 since it was the first one I pieced from the donated coins. This is the 2nd finished Coins quilt, one more is ready for binding, a 4th is pieced and ready for quilting and I still have a bunch of coins. I need to get to work and piece a couple more tops AFTER I get through my current *to do* list.

The quilt REALLY looks much better in person. I think it’s just one of those quilts that doesn’t photograph well. A close up of the Hearts and Loops quilting is below also. Click on photos to enlarge.

Not a work day but…..

Since Keith is working tomorrow, we spent today together. Went to brunch, ran some errands, dinner out. I did sneak in some work before and after dinner and I’m all set to load another quilt and get it done tomorrow.

My updated to do list for the rest of August

Quilt 4 HeartStrings tops – Chinese Coins #1
Piece 2 backings
Bind, label, wash, and ship quilt for my niece
Work on string blocks for my Half Square Hearts
Bind, label, and wash CC #4
Bind, label, and wash CC #1
If all goes well and the HS quilts get done, load and start quilting one of Mom’s tops

Back at work!

Since I get more accomplished when I set goals – here are some for the next couple weeks.

  1. Quilt 4 HeartStrings tops – finished CC#1 already today
  2. Piece 2 backings
  3. Bind, label, wash, and ship quilt for my niece – all but the shipping done yesterday
  4. Work on string blocks for my Half Square Hearts
  5. Bind, label, and wash CC #4
  6. Bind, label, and wash CC #1 (quilted today)
  7. If all goes well and the HS quilts get done, load and start quilting one of Mom’s tops

I can’t show the photo of my niece’s quilt until I ship it off and she receives it so I’ll share a photo of the quilting I did today. I was getting ready to pull a pantograph out for this Coins quilt but decided allover hearts and loops quilting would work fine and it probably went faster which is good with all the ones I want to get through.

Happy Birthday Debbie!

She was such a cute kid wasn’t she? I posted this photo on our family blog today but couldn’t resist sharing it here too! Happy Birthday again Debbie.